"...schools routinely said that 90 percent or more of their graduates had jobs nine months after graduation. It turns out they were including barista positions, low-level marketing gigs, or just about anything else you could call a job." [Emphasis mine]
"At some schools, less than a third of their graduating class were obtaining long-term, full-time jobs"
"A new study reveals that since 2009, the median starting salary...has fallen 35 percent."
|Any more of these posts, and I might|
have to rename the blog!
Credit: Arrested Development
To their credit, at least the American Bar Association (ABA) seems aware of the risk, and wants to inform newly-admitted legal students of the economic dangers. Their Nero, unlike ours, isn't fiddling while Rome burns. So, what lessons could Ph.D.-granting chemistry departments learn from the legal profession?
Honesty - Brian Vastag's Washington Post article from two weeks ago really struck a chord, amassing nearly 3700 comments and prompting discussion up and down the blogosphere. Although it's a political talking point (STEM STEM STEM!), chemical graduate departments must take a page from the ABA and inform new recruits that the salad days of secure scientific employment have passed.
Transparency - As Janet Stemwedel recently mused: What does a chemistry Ph.D. get you? Are alternative careers really playing out? How are pharma salaries adjusting to the recession? Are stock options, benefits, or retirement plans really going away? Where will the jobs be in 10 years?
CJ's correct to call for career tracking; after all, we have the technology! Through a combination of email surveys, social network mining, digital IDs, online CVs, and employer reporting, we should be able to paint a more complete picture of the sci-employment landscape. Using data from past students, new grads could adequately prepare themselves, and younger students could better assess their decision to attend grad school.